The last time we had a July general election was in 1945, just after the end of the Second World War. That led to a massive landslide for Labour.

Some 79 years later and all the polls predict a similar result.

Nevertheless, Rishi Sunak seems to believe he can overcome the 20-point lead enjoyed by Sir Keir Starmer.

Heroic, brave, deluded, mad?

As the Prime Minister stood outside No 10 being battered by torrential rain announcing the date of the vote, protesters on Whitehall played D:Ream’s Things Can Only Get Better, the theme tune to the 1997 Labour landslide.

Perhaps Mr Sunak believed they were playing it for him.

The Prime Minister is due to be in Scotland tonight, at an event with Douglas Ross somewhere in the Highlands.

One question he might be asked by his own party members is why on earth he’s holding the vote in the holidays.

Scotland’s schools traditionally close weeks ahead of their English counterparts.

Thousands of families north of the border will likely be on holiday.

Postal votes are a breeze to sort out and should hopefully mean there’s not too much of a dent in turnout, but what about the activists he’ll need to knock on doors and deliver leaflets?

What about council staff needed to facilitate a vote? It’s going to be a bit of a pain.

John Swinney described it as the “latest act of disrespect” from the government.

“That will not have been given a moment's thought by the Tory election planners, it shows the contempt the Tories have for Scotland,” he said.

The First Minister, who has now been in post a little more than two weeks, said the vote was “a wee bit sooner than I think everybody thought” but “welcome".

The election he said would be the “moment to remove the Tory government and put Scotland first by voting SNP".

“In this election we’ll be making the case why decisions about Scotland should be made here – and I’ll take that message to every part of Scotland.”

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If the polls are right then he might need to spend a fair bit of his time in Glasgow.

Scotland is on course for our most competitive election in decades.

Every Scottish Westminster vote since 1987 has either been a big win for Labour or, more recently, a big win for the SNP.

Last week’s YouGov poll suggested this year’s could be more of the former.

The survey - carried out after Mr Swinney had moved into Bute House - has Labour’s Westminster vote share at 39%, ten points ahead of the SNP.

That could see the First Minister left with just 11 MPs, down from the 43 the SNP currently hold.

Sir Keir Starmer would see his haul from north of the border jump from two to 35.

There was some silver lining for the SNP in that survey, with more than one in three Scots, 35%, having a favourable view of Mr Swinney.

“What he'll hope is that people will at least give him a hearing. People will at least be listening to him,” pollster Mark Diffley told The Herald. “But the reality is it's going to be a big challenge.

“The big contest is going to be Labour-SNP in the central belt in SNP-held seats. They're the ones that know may potentially fall like dominoes with the types of swings that we're seeing nationally.

“We’ve then got the Tory-SNP contests down in the south and the borders and up in the north east which are more difficult to call, because both those parties are losing significant amounts of support.”

Most Scottish polls put the Tories down about 10 points on where they were in 2019, but drifting SNP votes may ultimately let them hold on to the six seats they won five years ago.

Had Labour been in second place, Mr Diffley added, then he suspects they would be winning those constituencies.

In his speech from Downing Street, Mr Sunak’s attack line last night - as it likely will be for the next six weeks - is that it is not clear what Sir Keir Starmer believes.

He described the Labour leader as a man who "takes the easy way out” and will “do anything to get power.”

“I have to say, if he was happy to abandon all the promises he made to become Labour leader once he got the job, how can you know that he won’t do exactly the same thing if he were to become prime minister?

“If you don’t have the conviction to stick to anything you say, if you don’t have the courage to tell people what you want to do, and if you don’t have a plan, how can you possibly be trusted to lead our country, especially at this most uncertain of times?”

Similarly, Sir Keir in his response made clear what his party was offering.

In a speech lasting just over a minute and a half, he used the word “change” eight times.

“We will stop the chaos,” he said. “A vote for Labour is a vote for stability, economic and political.”

“We can turn the page,” Sir Keir added. “We can start to rebuild Britain. And change our country.”

Despite his poll lead, there are plenty in Labour who are anxious.

At the end of last year, Morgan McSweeney, the party campaign chief told the shadow cabinet: “Polls do not predict the future; nobody has voted in the general election; change won’t happen unless people vote for it.”

Polls, he said, can be wrong, including the Brexit vote in 2016.

If Sir Keir does end up in No 10 it will be a stunning turnaround. At the 2019 election, under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the party picked up 202 seats.

To win a majority they will need at least 325.

He doesn’t need to win Scotland, but it would help.